Slaven Bilic has challenged his midfield metronome Romaine Sawyers to rediscover his very best West Brom form as the competition for places in the middle of the park grows ever stronger. Sawyers was left out of the starting line-up in the stalemate with Burnley last week, and then was left out of the match-day squad altogether down at Brighton on Monday evening, where Filip Krovinovic and Conor Gallagher gave Bilic extra food for thought with important contributions as the Baggies rescued a point. Playing Premier League football for the first time in his career, it’s proving to be a steep learning curve for Sawyers, who was largely excellent in Albion’s promotion campaign and, in Bilic’s own opinion, the best midfielder in the division last term.
Slaven Bilic said “We have extra competition, but we need Romaine. We need good Romaine, we need the Romaine who can dominate the games, That’s what we want from him. We want him how he played last season, especially in the first half of last season, in the Championship where he was – from my point of view – the best midfielder in the league. That’s what we want from him, because firstly this is a very important position for the team offensively and defensively. At the same time, he is one of the main players for us. We need him. We weren’t that active in the transfer window in that position, because of the budget but also because of him and I believe in him of course, still. But he has to do it on the pitch, everyday in training and every time he has the chance to do it in the game. It’s very simple what I want from him, very simple. He’s a player who thinks a lot, very clever. He likes to talk. He’s a player I speak to a lot, minimum once a week. Not only now, but since I came here. He knows exactly what I want from him and what the team needs from him. He wants the same, to be fair. Are we going to help him and am I going to help him? Definitely. But he has to be the one who is going to provoke it on the pitch, with the help of everyone else.”
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